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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

190                               LIFE   OF
are currents which cross the oceans like rivers., and
flow past the unaccompanying waves like quiet shores;
these are the so-called oceanic currents, which Hum-
boldt has most attentively investigated. The principal
of these is the Atlantic Gulf stream-. It rises south of
the Cape of Good Hope, runs across the Sea of Antilles
and the Bay of Mexico., through the Straits of Bahama,
groceeds in a north-western course from the United
tates, receives an eastern direction near the Bank of
Newfoundland^,—where one arm runs southward and
flows to the shores of Iceland and Norway, to which.
it frequently brings., besides its warmth, various ob-
jects from the tropics. In the Southern Ocean there
is a similar current, which> however, has a low tempe-
rature., while the Gulf Stream has a high one. "We
mentioned Humboldt's investigations on the nature
of the Gulf Stream when we were sketching his
American journey.
Humboldt adds to the sketch of nature which he has
composed according to his own scientific acquirements,
a sketch of the great ocean of air which surrounds our
planet. He has investigated it accurately in the
changes of its pressure, its climatic warmth, its 1m-
raiclity and electricity, and its universal barometric
changes. The wonderful rotatory laws of the winds,
discovered by Dowe, occupied much of HumboldtJs
attention, for they led back to universal laws which
Humboldt had discovered in other phenomena of
natural life. His arrangement of the frequently men-
tioned magnetic observatories which cover the earth
he has endeavoured to make subservient for experi-
ments on the laws of winds, and he anticipates im-
portant results on the regulation of winds from these
connected sinmltaneously-made observations.
When we were speaking of Humboldt's Asiatic
journey we mentioned the universal influence of the
prevailing winds over climate, and as they have some
effect in the distribution of heat,, whose scientific
classification was Humboldt's special aim in, the
isothermic lines instituted 1817, we enter here on a